Dorset Inn Winter

Three Ways to Hibernate in Vermont During Covid

02 11, 2021


Vermont is a tough place to visit this winter, but if you don’t want to socialize, here’s where to quarantine cozily.

The Dorset Inn, tucked away from ski crowds, opened in 1796 and never closed.


By Valerie Stivers
Dec. 29, 2020 

HIDING OUT in Vermont’s snowy Green Mountains presents some challenges during Covid-times—but that’s the allure. The state’s strict regulations, wide-open spaces and intelligent epidemic management have led to one of the country’s lowest rates of infection. A tough place to visit, Vermont requires all out-of-state travelers to quarantine for seven days if they have a negative Covid test or 14 days without one—either before they leave home or after arrival. The state also limits locals and visitors alike from gathering with people from other households. Lodgings and restaurants and even ski resorts, however, are open at limited capacity.

The obstacles have kept most visitors at home, but if you don’t mind quarantining and don’t want to socialize, Vermont can be your own private snow globe this winter. And if you’re a skier, 50% lower capacity on peak weekends on the mountains means 50% fewer people scraping off the powder. We recommend these three, extra-safe lodging strategies, all focused on southern Vermont counties with even lower Covid rates than the rest of the state. Strap on your snowshoes.

Base yourself at a gourmet motel 

The owners of the Homestyle Hotel Inn + Restaurant in Ludlow recently took over a motel in an 1830s building across the street and turned it into the Main + Mountain Bar and Motel. The transformed hostelry’s second-floor accommodations feature cool hues of white and gray, with live-edge headboards and white subway tile.

Covid-safety bonus: The motel has contactless check-in and pickup from the bar downstairs, and every room’s doors and windows open to the outside. Best of all, this fall the owners closed the hotel part of their property across the street and turned its former guest rooms into private dining rooms for the Homestyle Restaurant.

Surroundings: The homey mill town of Ludlow has emerged as one of Southern Vermont’s best dining destinations, and is about a five-minute drive from the access road to Okemo Mountain.

From $154 a night,

Rent your very own farm

Owned by a couple who raise goats and make caramels, the classic hilltop Big Picture Farm is situated on 100 acres of pastures and woodlands in Townshend. Renters can book a rambling, 10-bedroom farmhouse built in 1790 or a two-bedroom barn or one-bedroom cabin, all renovated with modern touches. A few towns away, in South Londonderry, Bent Apple Farm is on a former horse farm. There you can sleep in a renovated 5-bedroom farmhouse with gables and wide pine flooring or a 2-bedroom vintage barn reconstructed in the style of the owner’s mother’s dollhouse.

Surroundings: Both farms are within 30 to 45 minutes of multiple ski and cross-country destinations.

Covid-safety bonus: Families have been renting both properties since the pandemic started, looking for larger spaces for remote work and school.

Big Picture, from $1,400 a week for the cabin, $3,000 for the colt barn and $5,500 for the farmhouse; Bent Apple, from $280 a night for the barn and $565 a night for the farmhouse,

Take a room at a secluded country inn

You’ll find the Dorset Inn—which opened in 1796 and has never closed—in the small town of Dorset, known for gorgeous old houses and a classic white-clapboard village. The inn’s local-hangout tavern now seats only 4 tables—a wonderfully warming and near-private experience if you can score a reservation. Rooms are upscale-traditional with framed prints and patterned textiles.

Surroundings: Dorset is well off the beaten ski-mountain trail but outdoor recreation options include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Covid-safety bonus: Staying far away from partying ski bums will give many travelers peace of mind.